I’m far from being the first person to find symbolism in the waves and the ocean. And I certainly won’t be the last. But I hope you’ll humor me a bit with these few pearls of wisdom given to me by loved ones while playing on the beach.

“Man just when things are going good, everything gets all messed up.” – from my 8-year-old cousin.

As said to me by my husband while I swam frantically in the opposite direction of an oncoming wave:

“You know running away from the wave actually is worse. Going toward them is easier because you’re meeting them just before they break on the shore.”

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the waves = fears and escaping them = well the same thing. When a wave comes barreling down toward me, I scream like a 4-year-old jump as high as heck and run as fast as you can in an ocean (a.k.a. not very fast). All that energy it takes to avoid them is pretty exhausting. And so it goes with life. You might not think of it, but the amount of fuel it takes to repress a problem, to avoid a fear, weighs heavily on your soul. And that’s energy that could be better spent on and with your loved ones, your passion, your dreams.

Surprisingly, when you go head on towards them, they’re not all that bad. Anticipation is always worst than the truth of what your facing. Even big and scary looking waves come down to shore eventually. What you need is courage in the interim when crazy anxious thoughts make even little waves look gigantic.

My advice?

Get grounded. Plant your feet firmly in the sand (or the cement or the dirt depending on where you live). Remember that waves ebb and flow, come and go, but you can always find your center. Getting grounded could be a physical sensation of security. But it can also be the safety and comfort you feel with a friend, the unconditional love you get from a pet or your partner. That strength will help you especially if you feel like an oncoming issue could wipe you out and knock you down.

Grab tools. Whether you’re swimming in the ocean or you’re wading through life, you need tools to help you meet any challenge coming your way. You need to learn how to swim for one and be prepared to do what you need to do to feel safe. Panicking is good for no one. Find solace in the tools you have around you-a life coach, a therapist, a good book-someone or something that has overcome big waves before and landed safely on the other side. Their wisdom can act as a guide, calming you so no matter what’s coming your way, you won’t feel alone.

Just do it. Sometimes it takes patience to overcome the big waves in your life. Sometimes it takes time to build courage, tools and to feel grounded. Other times you’ve got to stop wading around in the shallow side and take a risk to get to the deep end. There will never be a perfect time to do it. You can always have more confidence, be a little more prepared and have more courage. But that doesn’t mean it will be easier. Don’t wait for that calm day, it might never come.

Have any great tips on facing your fears ocean analogy or not?

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